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Our Debian Servers are becoming more and more and I am having a bit of a problem keeping the configurations in sync e.g. for ssh keys. But also stuff like vim configurations and tools installed on the servers.

I would really like to have an option to have a default install on all of them where things like wget and w3m are installed and then have classes I can assign to servers so that my Database Servers have mysql-server and some firewall settings installed where as the Webservers have an apache installed and configured and other firewall settings enabled.

Is there something like this? I have found Chef cookbook but am a bit confused in how it works. What alternatives are there? I am only searching for a tool for Debian - other OS don't have to be supported and it can be all command line.

Also I would like to send off aptitude updates without having to log in every where once. I don't want install the updates automatically though!

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5 Answers 5

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I guess you could look into Puppet. It's seems to fit your requirements.

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you should have a look at Puppet or Chef.

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For automating new installations, there is FAI (Fully Automatic Installation). For configuration management, there are a number of solutions, including: cfEngine, Puppet, and bcfg2. Debian provides packages for all those, so they're just an apt-get away.

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take a look at look at debian pre-seeding and then - as suggested by Fred and Mark - centralized configuration management like puppet or chef.

pre-seeding might be cumbersome at first but in the long run it's quite powerful..

here is the configuration that i've used with some success.

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FAI can install and configure your machines. For configuration you can use any scripting language you prefer, like cfengine or chef,....

FAI also includes the normal Debian preseeding technique, but this is only a small part of FAI. FAI can do much more.

The FAI project moved it's $HOME to


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